Who Is Shooting The Wild Burros?

One of the highlights of a prior hike years ago was seeing a wild burro in California. These are wonderful animals who embody the history of California and Nevada during the gold rush. They are gentle and unassuming animals but someone is shooting them. Shooting a lot of them.

Federal officials report that at least 42 wild burros have been killed along the Interstate 15 near the California-Nevada border. They have offered an award of up to $18,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

It is one of the largest mass killings of wild animals in BLM history. I cannot imagine the sick mind that would get joy from killing these animals. There is a systemic effort here by a person or persons who are targeting these harmless animals. Some were shot while drinking from a spring.

I have always been fascinating by the burros because they are not native and yet are surviving in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth: the Mojave desert. It shows the incredible resilience of these animals. They have not just survived but thrived.

Violations of the act are subject to a fine of up to $2,000, or imprisonment for up to one year, or both, for each count charged.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the WeTip hotline at (800) 782-7463 or visit http://wetip.com.

22 thoughts on “Who Is Shooting The Wild Burros?”

  1. They need to shoot the A-hole that has done this. I love donkeys they were largely responsible for getting most of the work done that helped us tame the west by they’re back breaking labor.

  2. They are such sweet animals!
    We bought three when we got a ranch…..Before we put a fence around the cabin, they would all 3 come to my bedroom window early in the morning, and hee haw untiI I raised my wndow and petted them( and gave them a treat). Since I had hiked the Grand Canyon that year, we named them all Brighty, after the book about the Bright Angel Trail donkey. One of them passed away a few months ago
    RIP Brighty #3.

  3. We needs some armed militia to stand up for the animals. Some armed bears would do well. That is what the 2nd Amendment is all about: … the right to arm bears. Armed bears helped us in the fights against the Indians and the Redcoats. The Framers screwed up by reversing the words when they were drunk.

  4. “Winter 2017: The Burro Quandary”

    “Wild donkeys are cute but destructive, and park officials don’t know what to do with them.”



    “Occasionally, burros can be helpful. In 2015, a lost hiker in Death Valley followed a group of them to a watering hole and was able to survive for several days until rescue arrived. And Erick Lundgren, a biologist with Arizona State University, found that burros can dig small wells that provide water to as many as 20 species of birds and mammals. In addition, cottonwoods, willows and other vegetation sprout in abandoned burro wells.

    “But many biologists say that overall, the animals, which weigh more than 350 pounds on average, are a potentially devastating force. One study found that Death Valley burros ate a disproportionate amount of native perennial grasses; another found that grasses were up to 10 times more abundant in areas protected from burros. Scott Abella, a professor of restoration ecology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said that burros favor the food plants that desert tortoises rely on, putting pressure on this threatened species. The recent increase in droughts and concomitant loss of vegetation only exacerbate these issues, said David Lamfrom, director of NPCA’s California Desert and Wildlife programs.”

    1. Not counting the broken legs from getting rounded up via helicopter.

      It’s a mess, but mustangs are more popular. They get more attention and activism than the donkey.

      1. There needs to be a contemporary Marguerite Henry to excite broad support for wild burros!

        1. Speaking of Marguerite Henry, are you referring to Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West? I loved that book.

      2. Karen S – we have had to stop the BLM from killing a herd of mustangs here in Arizona.

          1. Karen S – we had been successful this time, but people are monitoring the BLM all the time. The Mustangs are never safe. It is not like the BLM does not have more land than God.

  5. Thank you so much for calling attention to these senseless killings. Someone has been shooting the mustangs out here in the West, too, even pregnant mares and foals.

    I’ve seen these herds of burros and they are perfectly suited to the inhospitable terrain. A friend of ours has horse property near one of the herds, and they are quite acclimated to humans in that area. When we visit, seeing the burros is a highlight of the day. It’s like an equine soap opera, with feisty jacks skirmishing, or sometimes going to war, and jennies shepherding their foals around all the drama. They will line up on the top of the hill to watch when the horses are worked. Horse owners need good fencing, because they carry out raids on hay barns. They have such funny, expressive interactions. They are practically like air ferns, as the only places I’ve seen them have been arid, with tough creosote brush. The native plants have pungent or acrid aromatic oils, and are extremely tough. There are no tender plants in the desert. Their hooves are as tough as the stones they walk over. I have no idea what they drink, because there is no open water.

    One behavior that donkeys are famous for is attacking coyotes. They have an instinctive hatred and aggression towards coyotes, and canines, too, so domesticated donkeys need to be desensitized. Donkeys are even used in some areas to guard cattle and other livestock.


    Donkeys, like mustangs, are feral in the United States. Aside from the increasingly rare cougar, they have no predators. If a coyote attempts to take on a donkey, there will be a line to kick its butt. Since both species have been forced into ever more inhospitable remote land, they are hard on the ecosystem. However, there is always a shortage of money to deal with overpopulation.

    Follows is an article on Peaceful Valley Donkeys. They are the largest donkey sanctuary that I know of. Rather than simply warehousing the captured donkeys, they find homes for the those with an affectionate personality, and provide job training for those with an affinity for guarding livestock. Only those unsuitable as pets or workers are permanently housed, which means they have room for more.


    The problem solving this mystery is there are multiple motivations to hurt the donkeys. Extremist environmentalists hate donkeys as invasive species without a natural check on their numbers. Those with horses and livestock and inadequate fencing get frustrated that they lose hay and water to the burros. And then there are the psychopaths who shoot equines for fun. The latter sometimes kill riding horses dozing in their own home corrals.

    The solution to the first problem is that we have two choices – remove and rehome every single feral donkey in America, or allow them to stay in the land they’ve claimed, and put together a viable combination of public funding and private charities to sterilize, or capture and rehome excess population above the carrying capacity of the land. Killing healthy mustangs or donkeys will never have my support or the general public’s. The problem with donkeys becoming a nuisance to private landowners is to fence in your property, or at least your hay. If you live in an area with donkeys, then don’t lay out a banquet and expect it to remain untouched. Fencing also prevents donkeys from attacking livestock guardian dogs, left out to guard chickens, goats, and other farm animals. It’s like getting mad at a fox when you have an open henhouse without a strong fence.

    Whoever is killing the donkeys is either very angry at them, and is targeting all of them, or is a psycho.

    1. tl

      “Whoever is killing the donkeys is either very angry at them, and is targeting all of them, or is a psycho.”

      Thank you, Dr. Karen.

  6. Animals of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil

    There is a photo journalist on the ground in Brazil taking pictures of all the dead animals as a result of the Amazon fires. Most of photos are facial head shots. They look like humans with facial expressions who died in agony.

    1. Jerry – the destruction of the Amazon is heartbreaking.

      Cattle ranching is responsible for around 80% of the cleaning of the forest. They burn out the trees, as its the quickest way to make a clearing, and then successive vegetation of grasses and forage springs up quickly. Sometimes you’ll be hiking through really remote rain forest, and then come upon a cleared meadow of bulls hidden there.

      The more forest is cleared, the more dry the air becomes, as tree respiration moistens the atmosphere. Trees and thick vegetation also holds water, and banks it in the ground. The more land is cleared, the more water runs off and is lost, again drying the air.

      Eventually, it reaches a tipping point, and the region becomes dry enough that it affects rainfall, and subsequently the fire patterns.

      What happens in the rain forest affects us all, as it is second only to marine photosynthesis in generating our oxygen. It also sequesters carbon.

      It is utter madness how little attention we give to the de-greening of our planet. It’s just not competitive with other climate considerations, and does not get enough focus or funding. A lot of the funding that does occur is wasted, with little to show for it.

      Many replanting efforts fail to produce robust, long term forest that can ever become old growth, because they use nursery stock with distorted, pathological roots. You cannot grow an ancient tree from the beginnings of a tree in a 12 inch pot, with twisted roots.

      The Groasis Waterboxx is ingenious for producing a deep root system.


      And here is a brief article from the forest service on the vital importance of root structure in replanting forests.


  7. I do hope they catch of offenders. The wild herds of burros and mustangs are some of the highlights of the West and we mustn’t lose them.

    1. Or a mountain lion sneaks up on them and gets them! Justice would be served…for dinner.

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